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Born June 9

Most guitar players today owe a lot to Les Paul, who innovated rock 'n' roll guitar with many new techniques and inventions. He created one of the first solid-body electric guitars, which produced a sound that would become essential to rock music. Today, the guitars that bear his name are favorites of many musicians, and so are the styles and techniques he experimented with, including his innovations in overdubbing and multitrack recording. As a performer, he produced notable solo work. He recorded and performed popular hits with his wife, Mary Ford. We remember Paul's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including Batman legend Adam West.

1964: Wayman Tisdale, U.S. professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns who was also a popular jazz bassist, is born in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tisdale, a 6-foot-9 forward from Tulsa with a soft left-handed touch, played in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns. He averaged 15.3 points for his career. He was on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. After his basketball career, he became an award-winning jazz musician, with several albums making the top 10 on the Billboard charts. Just before his death, he was chosen for induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Read more

 

 

 

1950: Trevor Bolder, English bassist with Uriah Heep who was also a part of David Bowie's backing band, the Spiders From Mars, is born in Kingston upon Hull, England.

1941: Jon Lord, English keyboardist who was a founding member of Deep Purple, is born in Leicester, England.

Jon Lord (Associated Pres Photo)Lord got his musical start playing piano, first taking classical music lessons before shifting to rock 'n' roll. After moving to London to attend drama school, he joined blues band the Artwoods in 1964 and later toured with the Flowerpot Men – known for their hit "Let's Go to San Francisco" – before joining Deep Purple in 1968. Deep Purple went on to sell more than 100 million albums before splitting in 1976. Read more

 

 

 

1934: Jackie Wilson, U.S. soul singer known as Mr. Excitement, whose hits included "Night" and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," is born in Detroit, Michigan.

Before going solo, Jackie Wilson sang with Billy Ward and His Dominoes. One of their early hits with Wilson on lead was "St. Therese of the Roses." It was just a year after that song hit that Wilson left the Dominoes for a solo career. His first single, 1957's "Reet Petite," hit only No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 – but when it was rereleased in the U.K. in 1986, it shot to the very top of the chart. Read more

 

 

 

1926: Happy Rockefeller, U.S. philanthropist and second lady who was the wife of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Happy Rockefeller (AP photo)After her husband served four terms as New York's governor, he was named by President Gerald Ford to serve as vice president after Richard Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal in 1974. Shortly after being chosen, Happy Rockefeller was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two mastectomies. She and Ford's wife, Betty, were among the first women to speak publicly about the disease. "She went through it with dignity and was one of the first role models," longtime friend Richard Parsons said. "She carried herself unapologetically." Read more

 

 

 

1922: George Axelrod, U.S. screenwriter whose notable films include "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "The Manchurian Candidate," is born in New York, New York.

1916: Robert McNamara, U.S. businessman who served as secretary of defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, is born in San Francisco, California.

For all his healing efforts, McNamara was fundamentally associated with the Vietnam War, "McNamara's war," the country's most disastrous foreign venture, the only American war to end in abject withdrawal rather than victory. Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, McNamara was recruited to run the Pentagon by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 from the presidency of the Ford Motor Co. He stayed seven years, longer than anyone since the job's creation in 1947. Read more

 

 

 

1915: Les Paul, U.S. guitarist and inventor whose innovations with the electric guitar and recording techniques helped shape rock 'n' roll, is born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Never satisfied with the way his hollow body electric guitar sounded, Paul began stuffing towels in the f-holes to reduce feedback. In 1940, he was almost fatally electrocuted while experimenting with the electric wiring of his guitar. Paul's first breakthrough in creating the solid-body electric guitar came in 1941 with a device he called "The Log" – a maple 4-by-4 with a bridge and pickup attached to an Epiphone hollow body (it took 10 years for him to convince Gibson to produce a solid-body guitar based on his design, a step Gibson took only after seeing the success of the Fender Telecaster). Read more

 

 

1910: Robert Cummings, U.S. actor known for roles in films including "The Devil and Miss Jones" and "Dial M for Murder," is born in Joplin, Missouri.

1902: Skip James, U.S. blues guitarist and singer who influenced generations of musicians, is born in Bentonia, Mississippi.

1891: Cole Porter, U.S. composer of musicals including "Kiss Me, Kate" and songs including "Night and Day," is born in Peru, Indiana.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including Batman legend Adam West.